Sun 19 June 2016
As was recently pointed out in
(which I recommend generally), a gentleman named Peter-Paul Koch has
on what's called "imposter syndrome." Unfortunately, while imposter
syndrome is a real thing, and deserving of attention, Mr. Koch's quick
post is essentially—fertilizer.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."
The singular of "data" is
certainly not "anecdote."
But even taking his post at face value, I take particular exception to his
Once she had told this story, my friends and I concluded that
impostor syndrome actually serves an important function. It forces
you to check and re-check your work, making sure you haven’t made
any mistakes, consider different approaches, and generally be
critical of yourself in a positive sense.
So cherish your impostor syndrome. Don’t trust people who don’t have it.
arguendo that the premise is true, the conclusion isn't.
Imposter syndrome is neither necessary nor sufficient for honest
self-criticism, nor (in my view) is it generally healthy or
Humility is important! But it is not humility to have a false
conception of one's own capabilities—rather, it is
self-deception, and in extreme cases, pride. Those beset by such
(generally involuntary) self-deception should rather try to correct
and to take appropriate self-critical measures,
rather than only the latter.